Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution Friday calling for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists.
The non-binding resolution follows a spate of high-profile child sex-abuse cases that have provoked outrage and riots across Pakistan in recent years.
Child killers and rapists ‘should not only be given the death penalty by hanging, but they should be hanged publicly,’ said Ali Muhammad Khan, Pakistan’s parliamentary affairs minister, who presented the resolution in the national assembly, or lower house.
‘The Quran commands us that a murderer should be hanged,’ Khan added.
Though a majority of lawmakers approved the resolution, human rights minister Shireen Mazari stressed it was not sponsored by the government.
The resolution ‘on public hangings was across party lines and not a govt-sponsored resolution but an individual act. Many of us oppose it – our MOHR (human rights ministry) opposes this,’ Mazari tweeted.
Human rights organisations have long called on Pakistan to reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty, which was lifted after the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar in 2014 that killed 151 people, most of them students.
In the years after the lifting of the moratorium,
Child sexual abuses are rampant in Pakistan.
In October 2018, authorities hanged a child rapist in an infamous case in Kasur, near Lahore, that sparked nationwide protests.
In that case, the six-year-old victim, Zainab Fatima Ameen, had been attacked by a 24-year-old man who went on to confess to her rape and murder.
Authorities in Kasur also uncovered a massive paedophilia ring in 2015.
In a scandal that rocked the country, at least 280 children were sexually abused by a gang who blackmailed their parents by threatening to leak the videos.
There are currently no crimes punished by public execution in Pakistan.
Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, told MailOnline in a statement: ‘Pakistan should be moving to abolish this cruel relic of the past, not extending its use.’
‘Lawmakers in Pakistan need to look at the facts – there is no evidence anywhere in the world that capital punishment deters crime any more than prison, and the grisly spectacle of public executions will be no different,’ he added.
‘Public executions, which are thankfully now very rare in the world, are a throwback to a crueller age. Pakistan should focus on proper child protection and crime prevention measures.’
‘Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty and have no place in a rights-respecting society,’ Amnesty said in an earlier statement.
‘There is no empirical evidence to show that public hangings are a deterrent to crime or in protecting the psycho-social well-being of children’, Sarah Belal, executive director of Justice Project Pakistan, a non-profit group campaigning against the death penalty, said.
In March 2016, Pakistan introduced a law criminalising sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking. Previously, only acts of rape and sodomy were punishable by law.